Athens – Sanford Stadium is receiving treatment that’s been two decades in the making.
After enduring plenty of wear and tear, the field at Georgia’s football stadium is being re-sodded. The previous grass surface has been ripped up and replaced by a thick-cut grass.
“This field has not been completely re-sodded from tip-to-tip, hedge-to-hedge, since the (1996) Olympics,” said Melvin Robinson, an assistant athletics director for facility operations.
The cost of doing so wasn’t immediately available, but last year Georgia Tech re-sodded the field at Bobby Dodd Stadium for about $90,000. That was following a Rolling Stones concert, which understandably resulted in the field looking like wild horses had run over it and painted it black, to no one’s satisfaction.
But UGA’s project is expected to cost more than that.
Georgia’s new grass was grown on a sod farm, Bent Oak Farm in Foley, Ala. It was then brought over to Athens by truck.
“Lots of trucks,” said Daniel Moore, UGA’s director of athletic turf.
Robinson said the thick-cut grass is the same type that is used for Super Bowls, and by NFL teams that often see college games played on Saturday and then pro games on Sunday.
It’s referred to as “lay and play” in the industry, according to Robinson.
“This is what the pros use,” Robinson said. “This stuff doesn’t go in your yard.”
LaserTurf, a Watkinsville company that has put down the turf at places like Turner Field, was brought in to handle this project. Robinson, Moore and UGA’s facility staff then oversaw it.
The re-sodding was a long time coming, and was in the works last year, as Sanford’s field continued to take a beating. Five of the seven home football games were played on days or weeks that there had been rain, most notably the loss to Alabama.
Then, with the indoor athletic facility under construction, the Bulldogs conducted more spring practices than normal at Sanford, and probably will again this fall. So the field was simply worn out.
“We knew going in, this was a great time. Let’s get it back right,” Moore said.
The entire process takes about a week. Moore said it was on track to be completed by Monday night. The football team begins preseason practice next week.